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Tuesday May 28, 2024

Australians had their own trading system thousands of years ago

It took researchers around two years to discover pottery

By Web Desk
April 10, 2024

Archeologists have discovered the oldest pottery parts from the Australian island of Great Barrier Reef revealing how trade was conducted 2,000 and 3,000 years ago, according to the research published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

The discovered parts were broken and were discovered from below the surface by Traditional Owners and archeologists reported Science Alert.

Senior author Ian McNiven, an archeologist from Monash University in Australia, said: "These findings not only open a new chapter in Australian, Melanesian, and Pacific archaeology but also challenge colonialist stereotypes by highlighting the complexity and innovation of Aboriginal communities."

It took researchers around two years to discover and identify pieces of pottery among the remains of fish, turtle bones, and charred plant materials.

In 2006, such pieces have also been found on Jiigurru before, however, experts were unable to ascertain who made them and how old they were.

"I remember Ian and I looking at each other across the pit in amazement," James Cook University archaeologist Sean Ulm told the outlet while recalling their findings of pottery in 2017.

"We stopped the excavation and documented the find very carefully. There were deep discussions long into the night about what the finding might mean and how we should progress the excavation from here."

According to the report, "the deepest layers of the excavated midden had been deposited some 6,510 to 5,790 years ago, which made Jiigurru the earliest offshore island occupied on the northern Great Barrier Reef."

"We think that the ancestors of contemporary Traditional Owners [of Jiigurru] were engaged in a very widespread trading system that included cultural exchanges with pottery-making communities of Papua New Guinea," said Ulm.

Ngurrumungu Elder Brian Cobu said: "Research projects like this help us all to understand Country better and help us to understand how to look after Country."